An aperitif is technically any alcoholic beverage designed to stimulate the appetite before a meal. Which brings us to Le Moné, a new line of wine aperitifs with “no secrets” on their limited ingredients which comprise Meyer lemon (in the form of California lemon peel), dry New York farm white wine, California brandy, and 100% organic agave (not the tequila, but presumably for a touch of the weighty sweetness). The lemon is further accented with a touch of “Italian bergamot and Persian lime.”
Let’s cut to the chase. It’s hard to go wrong with this combination, but the balance of all the featured ingredients sit just right and blend seamlessly while allowing the essence of its components to shine through. The nose is refreshing and enticing with sweet peaches and citrus more akin to blood orange than spritely lemon; the blood orange nose may be due to the agave and brandy highlighting the characteristically sweeter Meyer varietal of lemon. The subtle muskiness of grapeskin of white wine base is also unmistakable. The palate dances with sweet-tart lemonade, syrupy port notes, and more of the grape skin. The finish tingles with the lemony base, then lands firmly with the dry white wine base.
Le Mone has achieved an incredibly versatile offering that delivers solidly as a simple aperitif on its own terms over ice but also adds a sophisticated twist to any cocktail that traditionally relies on white wine (think wine spritzers), champagne (think mimosas if you add in some seltzer for the bubble factor), or tequila (think margaritas with added velvety muskiness owing to the wine and brandy). It is not quite a liqueur but it can certainly step in to elevate any cocktail. Simple vodka and gin drinks are also nicely accented with just a splash of Le Mone. (Oh, the magic it brings to a gin and tonic.)
All in all, this is a wonderful addition to one’s cocktail portfolio. I would be hard pressed to find a cocktail for which Le Mone would not kick things up a notch.